The Texas Longhorns (1-1, 0-0 Big 12) welcome the UTSA Roadrunners (1-1, 0-0 C-USA) to Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday in the first ever meeting between the two programs. Texas is hoping to avoid a trap game following a disappointing loss to Alabama last week, while the Roadrunners are eyeing an upset in Austin behind star quarterback Frank Harris.
Last week DKR was an overstuffed stadium full of loud, raucous fans that could smell an upset over the top-ranked Crimson Tide. The players fed off of the emotion and atmosphere, but can the Texas faithful replicate that against this week? Jeff Traylor's team won twelve games last season and yields an overwhelming number of seniors on both sides of the ball.
It would be an understatement to say that this is a huge game for both programs. Texas enters the game with injuries to key contributors and an unknown starter at quarterback, but they can't afford a loss. The Roadrunners, simply put, are looking to shock the world and leave Austin with their biggest win in school history.
Who wins this one? Our staff weighs in with their thoughts and score predictions.
Jameson McCausland (2-0)
This game is a prime letdown spot for Texas following their close call against Alabama. UTSA has a ton of experienced players, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Without Quinn Ewers, the downfield passing ability of the Texas offense will surely take a hit. The Longhorns are going to have to lean on their defense and running game heavily. They are in survival mode right now as they try to get by without several key players.
I think Texas does enough to win, but it would not surprise me at all if this game is extremely close in the 4th quarter.
Score Prediction: Texas 28, UTSA 17
Saturday night will be the first-ever match-up between these neighboring programs, both of which are coming off of exhausting games and are quite beat-up this early in the season. Texas’ task this week will be carrying a proper respect for the smaller – albeit solid and well-coached – program that would love to knock off the flagship school in their own house. They’ll need to have moved on quickly from the high praise they’ve received all week from the national media after being 10 seconds away from defeating Alabama. With the good guys potentially starting their third string QB in Charles Wright, I’d expect the offense to do everything they can to establish the ground game early in order to make things more comfortable on that side of the ball, while also mitigating the number of opportunities that Frank Harris and UTSA’s offense would have to keep things close. That unit should be a solid test for Kwiatkowski’s pass defense. A line of -12.5 is a bit too much for me based on the injury report, but I like the Longhorns to prevail in what could end up being a closer contest than anticipated.
Score Prediction: Texas 30, UTSA 21
Aaron Carrara (2-0)
Texas lost a heartbreaker to Alabama last week and I know there has been a lot of talk about this being a potential letdown game for the Longhorns, but I just don't see UTSA coming into DKR and winning - regardless of who starts at quarterback. There is growing optimism that Hudson Card will be healthy enough to start, but I would expect to see Charles Wright play at some point in the game should that happen. Texas needs to give in-game snaps to their now second string quarterback (Wright) as an insurance policy. UTSA has a great offense, but their defense lacks a lot. Pete Kwiatkowski's defense continues to play solid football and will make things difficult for redshirt senior Frank Harris. Steve Sarkisian's offense will run the ball a lot and the Longhorns will close out the last non-conference game of the season with a win.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, UTSA 20
Devon Messinger (2-0)
Following Texas's close loss to Alabama, a banged up Longhorns team will host UTSA at home on Saturday. Offensively for the Roadrunners, the team is led by redshirt senior quarterback Frank Harris who has been dynamite for a Jeff Traylor led squad.
However, of course, the attention will be on Texas's quarterbacks in this matchup as the status of second-string quarterback Hudson Card is uncertain. If Card is unavailable to lace them up on Saturday, expect to see Austin High alum Charles Wright under center. However, either way, don't be surprised if you see a Roschon Johnson heavy offense, similar to when he was taking wildcat snaps against K-State last season.
Score Prediction: Texas 30, UTSA 20
Ryan Swantkowski (1-0)
The Longhorns have their third straight home game of the season Saturday night against a tough UTSA team. The Roadrunners are coming off a hard fought overtime win against Army and the week before took the Houston Cougars to overtime as well, only to fall short by two points. UTSA Quarterback Frank Harris has elite playmaking ability both through the air and on the ground as he leads the team in both passing and rushing yards. The Texas QB situation, on the other hand, is still up in the air as Hudson Card is dealing with an ankle injury and there are questions around QB Charles Wright and the wildcat package with Roschon Johnson. I expect this game to be slow-paced and scrappy as both teams might be running out of gas, but I expect the new look Texas defense to take control of the game and let the offense run their simpler plays similar to ULM.
Score Prediction: Texas 24, UTSA 16
Mitch Lovell (2-0)
The Texas defense looked downright nasty last week against Alabama and continues what looks like a well-improved season effort. Hudson Card guts things out for the offense as UTSA hangs for much of the game but the Longhorns end up pulling away late.
Score Prediction: Texas 35, UTSA 17